Read with me Mary Poppins

mary poppinsIt may come as a surprise to many of you, but up until the other day, I have never read Mary Poppins.

Shocking, actually. How can one profess to be the biggest Mary Poppins fan (never just Mary) and never have read the book or books?

Guilty.

When I was 6, I lived in Yellowknife, NWT AKA the Arctic in Canada. Yes it was cold, yes it was dark, yes there wasn’t much going on up there. My mom and dad were great lovers of musicals. On Saturdays (house cleaning day) Mom would open up the cabinate stereo and pile 6 albums on to the turntable for endless music. If it was November, it would be Andy Williams Christmas, Catherine McKinnon Christmas, Dean Martin Christmas, Bing Crosby Christmas, Burl Ives Christmas and a Christmas mix of Mel Tormé et al. If it was any other month other than November or December, we listened to the sound tracks to The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man and of course, Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins (film)

Mary Poppins (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew every word to every song on that album, both sides. I would read the liner notes and look at the photos on the back of the album. I had no idea what the story was about, but I wanted to see it.

My first musical was a Northern Production of Fiddler on the Roof. This had me enchanted with musicals. If I loved Mary Poppins half as much as Fiddler on the Roof, I knew I would be in toe tapping heaven.

My family had a long standing tradition to see a movie on the last day of school. It lasted until…well it is still happening. I take my kids now on the last day of school even though they usually go to movies now with friends, the “Last Day of School Movie” is still important to them, and that makes me happy. When I was six, the movie theatre (singular, one movie screen) was showing a re-run of Mary Poppins in Yellowknife. The Arctic never got first run anything…ever…. Even football and hockey games came up north by truck in a film can a week later.

My Dad was helping get into my jacket and we had been practicing all the songs for the movie to make sure I knew them..oh I knew them alright, I even knew the spoken dialogue parts. We piled out the door and walked to the movies, Me, Mom and Dad and my baby brother who was 4. We were STOKED!

I sat throught the entire showing wide eyed and enchanted.

Mary Poppins was magnificent! But why had she not ever come to my house? From that day forward, I would wish for her on an evening star.

I have since watched that movie a gajillion times, purchased every possible bit of merchandise available – and trust me, there isn’t very much! I have a Mary Poppins Mug of her flying over the roof tops of London in silhouette, I have a parrot umbrella and I have the Arthur Penguin Magnet. I regret not buying the Mr. Potato Head with Mary Poppins parts when I saw it at Walt Disney World, I figured it would be at another store closer to where the hotel was…but no chance. I have since looked for it every time and no luck. That is my biggest collector regret.

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I know trivia that can win tickets to anything. I know dialogue that impresses even the finest dialog aficionado. I have stalked Mary Poppins and Bert at both Disney Parks in the US. Last week when I was in the Park, I saw the two of them walking off stage, I stopped, yelled and waved “HI BERT!!!! HI MARY POPPINS!!! I LOVE YOU!” I waved wildly like I was four. They both stopped and waved back, then Bert called me over. I ran like I was PRing for the Boston Marathon. I threw my phone at the Trusty Steed and I clung to Bert as if we were just married. sigh………………..

Mary Poppins and my Boyfirend

Mary Poppins and my Boyfirend

 

 

He whispered into my ear that they would be in front of the castle at 1:00 PM and at 2! SQUEEEEEEE I had never had the chance to see the Pearly Band and now I had my chance!!!

I celebrated the fact that Bert loves me and personally invited me to watch him perform by having my very first Ghirardelli sundae in the chalk painting style.

We made it to the castle for 2:00 PM. At 2:01 The Trusty Steed was calling Bert a liar. But then the band started marching towards the Castle and there they were…Mary Poppins and Bert dancing, marching and singing with the Pearly Band. I was standing in the front row surrounded by 4 year olds. I was NOT giving up my spot for some kid who wasn’t personally invited by Bert.

When Mary Poppins saw me, she said “Lovely to see you again”! But when Bert saw me he WINKED ! OH YA! BERT WINKED AT ME!! Eat THAT Brenda, PROOF BERT IS MINE!!

It was definitely a Jolly Holiday!

I am so excited about the new movie “Saving Mr. Banks” and have been watching all the trailers and videos I can get my hands on. I learned the movie used the actual recorded audio tapes of P.L. Travers for the film. Since the film is about the books as much as the movie, I thought I better read the book so I can be better prepared for the movie when it comes out. I like to do my research and be in the know. At the very least, understand the background.

I had always avoided the book because Books and Movies rarely work well together. One always destroys the other for me and I really didn’t want this to happen for my beloved Mary Poppins. The reviews on Good Reads were mixed. One said that the book was butchered by Disney and made into an atrocious film…yikes. Was the movie that different?

I downloaded it onto my iPad and remembered it was a children’s book of 190 pages. Okay, not a problem. I should easily whiz through it and if I hate it…so be it. Julie Andrews will forever be my Mary Poppins.

I was astounded at how closely the events of the movie followed the events in the book. Obviously there was additional things in the movie that never happened in the book, but to be fair, I have only read the first volume. There are several more. The book gave Jane and Michael Banks twin siblings, Barbara and John – Babies who speak in a language that animals, the wind, the sun and Mary Poppins all understand. The book had adventures that the Musical had but not the movie, but there was Tea Parties on the Ceiling, Feeding the Birds with the Bird Woman and Jumping in chalk drawings. Bert was an obvious suitor for Mary Poppins only he was the Match Man, jack of all trades and Sunday Sidewalk artist.

The Carpet bag was empty and full at the same time like the movie and Mary Poppins traveled by talking umbrella and slid up banisters. Admiral Boom lived down the street and Andrew the dog could talk to Mary Poppins…just like the movie.

There was enough differences to make me enjoy the book, but there was enough similarities to make me smile with delight.

I loved it and am now sad I never read it to my children when they were little.

I guess there is always the chances to read it to my grandchildren…and favorite nieces.

I rate P.L. Travers’s Mary Poppins 5 stars and now am more anxious than ever to see Saving Mr. Banks.

I have to say I was delighted.

Read With Me: Paul’s Case

Five Stories (short story collection)

Five Stories (short story collection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I am discovering the delights of a short story. When I was in school, it was mandatory to ready them for comprehension tests and literary examinations. I loved O.Henry, J.D Salinger, and Washington Irving but somewhere along the way I stopped reading them. Then I became that old fuddy duddy who read Reader’s Digest out of desperation while waiting copious amounts of time at a friends cabin. I found old mouldy copies in a box in the corner and began reading short stories again. Then I discovered the delights of Maeve Binchy, W.P. Kinsella and Alice Munro. Stories so masterfully told that I would think about the characters long after the 30 minutes was up. I still can fondly recall characters years after I put the story down. Short story authors have a magical way of developing characters in an instant and telling a story about a brief moment in time that sticks with you.

 

My son is currently studying Canadian Short Story Authors and is not enjoying it. I suspect it has to do with the language usage. Older English reads differently than the contemporary literature he currently is enjoys. If you ever read Mark Twain or L.M. Montgomery, then you understand what I mean. I am not referring to Shakespeare, but rather the turn of the 20th Century where language was more formal and slang used in that era is lost on my 17-year-old. I could see him struggling. He suspects he is ADHD, I suspect the content doesn’t interest him. When I was his age, I had a great-aunt who came to live with us for about 6 months. She sat with me and helped me understand the poetry that I despised. While I am still not a great fan, I do know how to make sense of prose because of her. I sat with my son and together we read and analyzed his short story.

 

Paul’s Case by Willa Cather I rate this story 4 stars out of 5. My son gives it a 2.

 

You can find the entire text here.  The story takes place in modern times for the author, 1904, in Pittsburgh and New York. It is the story of a boy who doesn’t fit into society. Although it doesn’t say it, I suspect the author writes the boy as a homosexual. This is not unusual for this time period, Virginia Wolf also wrote about lesbian attractions although for the times, it was discrete and not obvious to the unaware.

 

Paul was unable to feel normal in his surroundings but found peace and excitement in the theater and arts. He fantasized about a life of luxury and had a distaste for the mundane. His mother had died when he was young, and his father worked hard to provide a stable life for Paul and his sisters, yet Paul felt his father was stingy with the money. He thought he deserved a more luxurious lifestyle. His choices and movements were self-absorbed and ultimately changed his life forever.

 

Symbols are a huge part of short stories and I had forgotten that when I did a first read through of this story. I recognized consistencies and was reminded of the prominence of the symbols, the red carnation, money, and the snow.

 

I could not relate to the main character himself, although I could empathize with him. My son couldn’t believe how narcissistic he was.

 

Take a quick read and let me know how you view it.

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Read with Me: 50/50 by Dean Karnazes

Accelerade 24-Hour Endurance Run

Accelerade 24-Hour Endurance Run (Photo credit: warsze)

My son and I were having a conversation yesterday about books. He is in his senior year and is frustrated that every book he reads for English must be analyzed, it can’t be read for pure enjoyment. That’s true, I didn’t like that part of English 30 either. I liked the novel choices even less. I remember my English teacher saying things like “poor tragic Catherine” From Wuthering Heights or her hands making the motion for “out out damn spot” from MacBeth. For me it was the fact that I HAD to read the book. I confess to buying the Coles notes version of both books and it wasn’t until much later that I read Wuthering Heights for – gulp – fun.  My son gets to read Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Poor old tragic Willy Loman. I remember reading it and can’t remember why or for which class. I remember think Biff was an ungrateful slug, but now that years have changed me, I think a little differently. It takes courage to pursue your own dream and not the dream of your parents. I will look forward to that discussing with my son, although we already had a version of that topic. The big “What should I take in university?” question. We sorted that out and came to the decision that school is an opportunity to learn more than you knew the day before. Take courses that interest you and if you are lucky, you can follow a career path in that direction. Too many people get caught up in something because they perceive they are making their parents happy, then they turn 43 and go back to school to take something that interests them instead.  The pursuit of the dream is a powerful thing. If you have never done it I highly recommend it.

I read Dean Karnazes 50/50 and I rate it 3.5 out of 5. In case you don’t know, Karnazes is an amazing athlete who discovered during a midlife crisis that he is indeed a runner. Not just a 5km runner, he is the kind of fellow who packs his credit card and goes, often without a plan and 31 miles later, calls for pizza take out to be delivered to some street corner so he can eat on the run. This guy is an amazing human specimen. As with many runners, he had a dream. He wanted to run a marathon in every state with his family driving a RV and meeting  up with him at various destinations.

book-50-50I have to admit, this idea intrigues me. I love destination races, I love the variety of new routes and I love the concept of having a’crew’ to take care of things so the athlete can just run. It takes some real influential conversation to convince someone that driving behind them at 8 miles/hour will be fun. It also takes some convincing that living in a RV for 50 days driving from race to race will also be fun. The crew worries about food, first aid – have you ever seen a runners foot? At best it is ugly, at worse the skin hangs like rags from blisters gone bad. It isn’t pleasant ever. Then there is the moaning and groaning of muscles that seize up, not to mention the amount of food that needs to be consumed so the runner doesn’t lose so much weight that they can’t hold their body upright. Convincing someone to be the crew is a big deal. Particularly when you want to run a marathon every day for the summer.

Karnazes’ wife Julie, was on it. She supports him in all his adventure so she was planning this trip. He went to find sponsors to help fund it. He was already sponsored by NorthFace and thought they would help him out. That was when the planning went sideways. NorthFace planed a 50/50 tour. 50 consecutive marathons in 50 States. First off, the travel is nuts, second, there isn’t time for proper muscle recovery, third, his family couldn’t come. His point was not so much the 50 marathons, but the holiday with his family.

He goes on to explain details from every single race that include the good, the bad and the hideous. Karnazes appears super human. I enjoyed the beginning of the books and loved some of the details but his advice for beginning runners when starting out made me laugh. Run 18 minutes to start? HA! Listen pal, that is assuming new runners have a level of fitness that allows the to do that. most new runners are 40 and are getting in shape for the first time in their life. Is diet tips are kooky too. But the man understands the beauty of the Ultra.  This reason alone is worth the read. He is simply amazing in his athletic ability. The guy ran 24 hours on a treadmill and didn’t slit his wrists! That alone is amazing!

This 50/50 provided me with some much needed inspiration and concept ideas for a project I am working on.

But I will talk about that later….

Happy Reading!

Read With Me

CSLP_DreamBigFor the first time this century, I will not be going back to school as a teacher. I will however, be going back to school as a student. I enrolled in my final class before I graduate December 13 and am waiting for my book list so I can spend the last of my dollars on school text books.

Not that I mind, I love books. I have books shelves full of them. They are my favorite gift to give. I have written authors asking to purchase one of their books but asking them to sign it so I can give it away as a gift. Occasionally the author will offer to do it for free if I make a donation to their charity. More often than not, I find authors to be just flattered that someone likes their work enough to share it. That surprised me. I thought authors might be along the lines of Divas, the kind of people who expect accolades and fame. But that has not been my experience. In fact, the more authors I meet, the more humble I find that breed of humans to be. This makes my heart happy.

I had a summer of interesting interactions. I was approached by a couple of authors to read their work and review it on Goodreads. I am not a professional reviewer so I was flattered, but then I realized I don’t want to spend my time reading a book and reviewing if the book does not interest me. My reading time is precious to me, I read enough University Journals for papers that when I read on my own time, I want it to be for fun. If I like the book, then I want to share with friends or others who read who I think might enjoy it. Lately I find myself pursuing memoir type genres. I am particularly fascinated with running memoirs but I have enjoyed bizarre life moment reads as well. Mondays are going to my regular book review days for those of interested in knowing what books I am enjoying. I have decided to write about books that I enjoy. I no longer will slog through a book I find dull or boring. My time is too precious for that. My ereader is filled with books that I can’t wait to read so why would I waist time on books I don’t want to read? Right? Tell me I am right!

Last week I went to visit my old comrades. I popped into their classrooms while they were preparing for this new school year. It was so great to see everyone, but I have to tell you, I am very happy I am going back to University and not waiting for the new charges to come to me. Sure I will miss their funny stories and perspectives, and I will miss telling them great stories and reading to them. That was my favorite part of being a teacher, story telling and reading. Sharing my favorite books with new generations of littles.

Read With Me with Moles_1As a tribute to my favourite preschool authors, I am starting off my Reading Monday series with my personal selection of favorite stories for young ones – the PreK to grade 3 set. The kind of stories that demand a cuddle on the couch and conversation to talk about new vocabulary words and what ifs. Here we go with the list in no particular order:

1. Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin

Pete has new shoes and loves them. But like all young cats, he gets them dirty. Yet as dirty as they get, he loves them still. This book is great for rhythmic repetition to create full engagement of the reader. LOVE THIS BOOK!

2. The Big Red Bus by Judy Hindley

This Bus gets stuck and needs the cooperation of many people to help keep it moving on its way. I love how children with very little language become fascinated with STOP and worry about the bus’s welfare. This book is light on text and big on pictures yet the meaning is obvious to all who read it. A great book to act out as well.

Cover of "SOMETHING FROM NOTHING"

Cover of SOMETHING FROM NOTHING

3. Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gillman

Gillman is a favorite author of mine, from Jillian Gigs to the Balloon Tree, so picking just one of her books was tough. Her illustrations are captivating and I love how the boy’s Grandpa is loving and understanding about the need for this blanket to always be in this boys life until he he ready to let it go on his own. Both my children had a blanket attachment and I love how it was honored in this story. A great read for families.

4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Max was me as a kid, huge imagination and often using it to amuse myself when in situations that were boring, like stuck in my room as punishment. I love the scary Wild Things and the way Max was in charge. This light text and the beautiful illustrations keeps everyone captivated until the end, when he discovers his mom still loves him. All children can relate.

5. The Cow that went Oink by Bernard Most

This was the first book that helped me explain bilingualism to children. It is done in such a charming way with the cow and pig teaching each other to speak their first language. My students laughed as the animals struggled with new words, because they could relate. This is a fun story.

6. Grandpa Dan’s Toboggan Ride by Suzan Reid

Not every one gets to toboggan, but chances are if you live in Canada you have or will at some point. Not every book is meant for a bedtime story. This is not a quite and calm book, this is an interactive, fun and crazy book that makes you want to run out and slide down a mountain. It always brought up lots of conversation about snow crashes which is a rite of passage for many young Canadians.

6. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd

I read this story every-night for a year to my son before he turned 1. This was his favorite story because he loved naming objects and saying good night. He loved the predictability of the story and knew what came next. It is important to read WITH your children and not TO your children so they can develop the critical thinking skills and can have conversations about what the see and predictability skills. I have a special soft spot in my heart and book shelf for this book, I often gift it to new babies and can’t wait to give it to a future grandchild.

7. No David by David Shannon

This is obviously a biography by David Shannon who had adults tell him NO all his life. Kids laugh because it is real, silly and shocking. They love to yell NO DAVID every time he brakes a rule. This was my daughter’s favorite book, perhaps because she grew up being ADHD herself and was a lot like David.

8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I loved this book as a child. I didn’t need an adult to read it to me because I would get caught up in the imagination of Harold and the things he could draw. It matched my favorite TV show, Simon’s chalk drawings. Give me a box of crayons and plank piece of paper and the world was at my disposal.

9. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

This book is for those little girls who are brave and smart and self reliant. If they aren’t these things, then read them this book so they can be.

10. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

I don’t know which I enjoy more, the book or the movie. Both are delightful and fun. I love the concept of magical dreams and extraordinary fun.

 

These are by no means the only books I love, but they were the ones that popped into my head without thinking too hard. Tell me what YOU would ad to the list!

Why did you not tell me there is a Harry Potter Prequel?

Apparently I live on a different planet than most geekdom fans. Although, I can tell you all about the Disney Star Wars sequels and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, I had NO IDEA THIS HAPPENED! Why did no one tell me???

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This apparently came out in 2008 and I was… hmmm… I was… I have no idea what I was doing but it wasn’t reading the prequel to Harry Potter, that’s for sure because NO ONE TOLD ME! I am pretty sure I wasn’t on Facebook yet and my kids were still young-ish. Had I known, I would have read it immediately. Why you ask? Because Sirius Black is a delicious male character. Not Gary Oldman from the movie because the same sex appeal is just not there. But Sirius Black from the books? Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

He is the ultimate bad boy with a good heart. Every girl’s dream when I she isn’t dreaming about George Clooney or Mark Messier or Doctors or Mr. Big or Mr. Darcy… anyways….

This prequel was too short, but so smart-ass fantastic, just like you’d expect James and Sirius to be. Only 6 pages long, it left me wishing for more. The worst of it? J.K. Rowling writes a note ” Not the prequel I am working on, but this was fun!’

DUDE! Ouch! I am sure it would be WAY better than A Casual Vacancy, that was just boring. At any rate, I had a taste of what I had been missing for a while. Now back to my regularly scheduled book Solar by Ian McEwan – with a little Pride and Prejudiced on the side.

You can get a free copy of the prequel here.

Mindless Reading creates Mindless Creatures

Yesterday was a huge milestone for my boy and  me. He passed his Driving Learners Test and now has a permit to drive with a licensed driver in the car. He came out of the test office, stood in front of me an did a little happy dance jig. Wow… 17 years ago, I whined about wanting a baby – not this man-child with the deep voice, goatee, size 13 feet and giant that stands before me. I look at him through mother’s eyes and melt. I look at him through strangers eyes and feel pride. His dad and I did good.

It made me think about all the books I have read and characters who were bad parents and characters who were great parents.

Best parent character award goes to Atticus Finch – from To Kill a Mocking Bird

Worst parent award goes to… hmmmm There are SO MANY!! From Scarlet O’Hara to the Evil Step Mothers in fairy tales, from Old Nick in Room to Mum in Hidden. Robert from 101 books agrees with me. He is on a quest to read great literature and is learning great is subjective. He also is learning that parents in books make bad choices. He has a great commentary about it so click here to read more.

Characters in books usually offer bad parenting advice, so my advice is to learn from them in the “what not to do” category. That is what is great about books. They teach you things, shock you, make you smile and even laugh. Take the time to learn critically from books, don’t just absorb them and think because it was published, it makes it a great read. It doesn’t.

The prime example is Shades of Gray. Read more books if you think this one was great. There are better books out there, I promise you!

This leads me to the Goodreads Giveaways I have received. The latest book I read was Alys, Always by Harriet Lane.

This book is about a newspaper editor who comes upon a car on a country road in England. The car has turned on its side and there is a women trapped. The editor approaches the car to help and her life changes forever from that moment forward.

The first chapter was EXCELLENT! It was a short story in itself, and quite frankly should have been kept that way. The rest of the chapters were dull, boring and I would have stopped reading if two things did happen:

  1. I won it with the implied intent I would review it.
  2. It was billed as having a twist and being suspenseful.

I can assure you there was no plot twist, there was no suspense and I could care less how it ended. It was predictable. The people reviewing it are giving it rave reviews  - mostly because it is a romance - blech - a poor one at that, and they won this book and likely feel obligated to give it a good review. This book took me forever to get through because of dullness. Read the first chapter and call it a day. OR find a great book and read that one.

15852479I have started my second Goodreads Giveaway book called We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. It is slated for publication 5/21/13. 19 pages in and I cannot put it down. It is about the life of 10-year-old Darling and her friends living in Zimbabwe. The culture will shock you North Americans. I am hoping this riveting read will continue throughout the book. The reviews are consistently stellar. Alys, Always had spotty reviews, so I am hopeful.

I am also reading the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This one is more for work and personal growth. It talks about how the brain develops habit and how you can use this knowledge in business and personal life. I am fascinated by it! For all you Dr. Bruce Perry fans, this would be interesting to you. It is for me.

So tell me, what great read is on your shelf right now?

Getting my Geek on

TARDIS Mk VII

TARDIS Mk VII (Photo credit: >Rooners)

I just peeked at the Calgary Comic Expo (comic con) line of of guests. I shared this information with Chatterbox and she screamed until she cried. When it was first announced, I was pretty pumped to see Stan Lee’s name there. How cool would it be to have him sign my Spiderman Comic  book? Then other names started appearing and I thought, huh, it might be fun to head to Calgary for this event. Then I saw John Barrowman! That is Captian Jack Harkeness from Torchwood! He has BEEN IN THE T.A.R.D.I.S. with THE DOCTOR! I now really want to go. Then I scroll down some more and discover something that made tears leap to my eyes.

Carrie Fisher.

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ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

One of my favorite authors of ALL TIME?

I can go, stand in line and meet her, pay a gazillion dollars for her autograph (hopefully on one of her books) how do I choose which one? Wishful Drinking or the Best Awful? Then I realize, I will be THE ONLY ONE THERE who doesn’t care that she is Princess Leia. Sure I was/am a massive Star Wars fan, but Fisher is my kind of funny and brilliant woman. She is the poster child for emotional eating. I adore her, and love her nutty mom more (Debbie Reynolds). But she is a writer and I am that kind of geek – well (insert David Tennant saying “well” here) sci-fi geek too but books are major geeky.

I suspect this may be the big family holiday we are going to be taking. Sad really, that it is in Calgary (sorry Calgary but you are not exotic enough for me to call you a destination holiday). But here is the thing. It interferes with some family stuff that is also really important. On a scale of more important than meeting Nathan Fillion? Yes. More important than John Barrowman? Yes. More important than the cast from the Princess Bride? Inconceivable, but yes. More important than meeting a favorite author of mine…hmmmm, okay YES but I don’t like admitting that!

Oh Carrie Fisher, Nathon Fillion, John Barrowman, Stan Lee and Ian McDiarmid (the Evil Sith Lord, the Emperor) I need to be in two places at once. Can any of you hook me up with a T.A.R.D.I.S., a DeLorian or a Time-turner please? Pretty Please?

All I can do is wish on Sat 5 and hope for the best.

Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

27

Suicide Note: an Interview with Author Teresa Mummert

We all know how I feel about authors. They are my rock stars. There is something so amazing to me about having the ability to create a world in your imagination, invite others along for a peek and have them be caught up in your imaginary world. I know it is hard work, rewrites and edits, feedback – good and bad, but once I get writing, I lose myself in it. So the idea of being paid to write is somewhat of a fantasy for me.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to interview New York Times Best Selling Author, Teresa Mummert about her latest release Suicide Note, out on book shelves March 15, 2013. She was gracious enough to oblige me and is providing a gifted Kindle e-copy of her new book Suicide Note when it is released to one of my lucky readers! That means you! Contest closes March 14th, 2013,  at NOON Mountain Standard Time To enter the Book Giveaway, simply click on CONTACT me (above) with your name, preferred email address and leave a blog comment below. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Noon MST. Good luck, and spread the word!

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Thank you for stopping by my blog for this interview! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this and the giveaway.

The premise of your book Suicide Note is found on the website , “A soldier returning for mid-tour leave decides to stay with a cousin in Maine after his fiancé leaves him for someone else while he is away at war. His cousin is going through his own devastation and is struggling to pick up the pieces and move on with his family. As they try to help each other through the pain, Shane’s path crosses Jenn’s and he soon learns that everything happens for a reason.”

ET:  Suicide Note has been getting amazing reviews! Will it only be released in ebook format?

TM: It will also be available in paperback on Amazon.

 

ET:   Is this entire story from Shane’s perspective?

TM: It alternates perspectives so you can see what each character is going through while they are apart.

 

ET: How is it different writing from a male perspective than a female one?

TM: I tend to have the female characters wear their sleeves while the male characters keep their feelings inside.

 

ET: Being a writer sounds like the perfect flexible career since you follow your husband around for his military career. I understand this is a fictional story, but was it inspired through your experience as a military wife?

TM: Some of the experiences come from real life situations. The soldier on the pool table is a perfect example of that. It actually happened in Afghanistan to a soldier while my husband was deployed. The soldier survived.

 

ET: Does this kind of story happen more often than we would like to think about because of the transient and stressful life in the military?

TM: Everything in the military seems to move in fast forward. People marry younger and of course that can cause a lot of problems down the road. It is a highly stressful lifestyle and not everyone is cut out for it.

 

ET: Are you a big believer in “Everything happens for a reason”? Can you give me a personal example?

TM: I think no matter what happens in your life you can choose to make the best of the situation and grow from it. It is hard moving from place to place and being alone the majority of the time, but I have also made some amazing friends that I would not have met otherwise. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of it all.

 

ET: This is not your first book; I believe Suicide Note is your 6th book? You tend to write series. What is the underlying reason for turning a book into a series?

TM: Suicide Note will be my sixth book. When I write I like to picture the story in my head as a movie. The story ends but there is always so much more that can happen and I become very attached to the characters.

 

ET: Is the book concept serial based? Or perhaps the characters needed more room to tell their story? How do you decide which books will be serial and which will stand alone?

TM: It really depends. I start out only planning to write one novel but if the characters are still stuck in my head I will continue their story.

 

ET: Will Suicide Note be a series?

TM: Suicide Note is written as a stand-alone novel. I have tossed around the idea to write another from a different character’s perspective but I most likely won’t do that. I have too many projects on my plate. Jenn and Shane’s story is over.

 

ET: I noticed on your web page you have 6 more books waiting to come out. Can you tell me about your writing process?

TM: I write the novel that is currently stuck in my head. I start by creating the characters. Once I know what type of people I want them to be I create a playlist of songs that help me get into the emotional state of each one. From there I write until I get everything out that I think needs to be told.

 

ET: Is there a particular character that you feel more attached to than any other? Why?

TM: I really felt I could relate most to Jenn from Suicide Note. I put a lot of real feelings into the characters that I have felt during deployments and things of that nature.

 ET: Thank you so much for coming by to talk to me and my readers! This was a fantastic experience!

TM: Thank you so much for taking a chance on my novels! It means the world to me.

Visit the links below to find out more about Teresa Mummert

TeresaMummert.com

Facebook.com/TeresaMummert

Suicidenotenovel.com

Facebook.com/suicidenotenovel

Twitter.com/teresamummert

Suicide Note will be released march 15, 2013

Contest closes March 14th at NOON Mountain Standard Time. To enter the Book Giveaway, simply click on CONTACT me (above) with your name, preferred email address and comment below. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Noon MST. Good luck, and spread the word! March 15 a person will be chosen randomly via randompicker.The winner will be notified via email and the winner will receive a gifted copy from Amazon to their email.

Authors are my Rockstars and now they speak to me

photo 2 (4)World Book Day was March 7 – Thursday. Did you miss it? The strange thing is, it is only World Book Day for Great Britain and Ireland. The rest of the world gets to celebrate World Book Day  April 23 – so mark that on your calendars because it will be EPIC! If only us Canucks celebrated it like the Brits, you get to walk around dressed up as your favorite literary character. Who would I be? Hmmm

I might dress up as Anne Shirley, long red braids and freckles. I might dress up as Scarlett O’Hara Carol Burnett style with the curtain rod, or perhaps Minerva McGonagoll

Carol Burnett's “Went with the Wind” costume

Carol Burnett’s “Went with the Wind” costume (Photo credit: national museum of american history)

because she was a kick-ass teacher. My obvious choice is Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice but I might go as Catherine from Wuthering Heights to fool people. Either way, a flannel nightgown would work tied in a empire waist. Simple. Just need a longish hair to be tied back and I would be convincing.

I doubt anything fun like a dress up party will happen – perhaps in my book club, but other than that Canadians typically only dress up for Hockey games, with the exception of Saskatchewan, Rider Pride has them donning watermelons and capes throughout the football season. I could easily start a new trend.

Whose in? Tell me who you would be!

Speaking of books, I suppose I did celebrate World Book Day British Style. I won 7 books in giveaways this month and they all started arriving this week! It felt better than Christmas, because books are the perfect gift for me – books and vinylmation (my birthday is August 16 in case you are wondering what to get me).

photo 1 (6)

I started checking out the explore section of goodreads and entered for some book draws. Then I went over to NetGalley and signed up as a professional reader. Cool title. All it means is if the publisher is willing to give me an advanced copy of a book, I will read it and review it. I will post it here on my blog, amazon and goodreads. NetGalley sent me two books right away. So my total for that week was 6, actually 7 because Amazon was giving away a free download for a book launch The Fallen Snow. I count that book into my free ones. So here I am with a list of books I already want to read and now I have been given several books I need to read and review  The good thing is, I put my name in for books that interested me. So it doesn’t look like I will be stuck with books that will bore me, hopefully. You never know when you crack open a book what you will find inside. The only caveat is I have to disclose that I won the book in a give-away, apparently this is FTC rules. Being a Canadian, I don’t think it applies to me, unless they are book published in The US. Either way, I will comply.

I read The Fallen Snow and wrote about it here, on goodreads and on Amazon. For the record, 4 out of 5 stars. I loved Kelley’s writing style and character development. Then an amazing thing happened. John Kelley wrote to me!!!! I must admit to being a bit star struck. Authors are my rock stars. He wrote me some lovely things and I was walking on clouds for about a week.

Then I won Healer’s Touch by Deb E. Howell. She wrote to me to explain how nervous she was. Really? She hoped I liked the book and she was posting it herself. COOL! It arrived this week and she signed it! Okay, I admit that sent me over the moon! We chatted back and forth on goodreads for a about a week and then the book arrived. It is steampunk. A genre I have never read before but it also looks great! It is next on my list. I am reading them in the order they arrived. How else will I choose?

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Then came Notes from a Coma by Mike McCormak in my email. It let me know it was placed into my kindle app. I opened up Kindle and there it was. Cool! I flipped through the first few pages and the format is something I have never encountered before. 2 stories told side by side, one in the footnotes. This may be confusing by I am a smart girl, I am sure I can figure it out.

Then came Love Water Memory  by Jennie Shortridge.  in my email. Again saying the book was in my kindle app but it was not an edited version so do not quote it. Again, COOL! The main character has amnesia and has to start a new life. I am drawn to these types of characters for some weird reason, I am also looking forward to this book!

The book that came in today’s mail was Alys Always: A Novel by Harriet Lane. A car crash survival and the aftermath. It has a cool sticker saying it was Courtesy of Simon and Schuster. They seem to like me and send me lots of books, Penguin – not so much but I shall keep trying!

Books I have won but haven’t received yet are The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper. This one I must admit to being scared to read. I was raised Catholic and have a fear of demons (Thank you Sister Annette and Sister Claudia for those nightmares!) but I am fascinated just the same by the story line. I am glad it isn’t here yet, I might jump it to the head of the queue. The other book is We Need New Names: A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo about a 10 year old African girl and her life that is so different from mine I can hardly imagine what it would be like. I am also looking forward to that one.

Now if that wasn’t enough excitement for a book lover like me, guess what else is going? Give up? You will never guess so I will tell you. Teresa Mummert and I have been in contact and I am interviewing her about her next book, Suicide Note with a March 15 Release date! She is giving away a kindle e-copy of her book to one of my lucky readers! This will happen later on this week, so watch for it. If you are the lucky winner, the book will be sent to you March 15, the release date of Suicide Note.

So tell me, what are you reading?